Upon leaving the Pow Gai poker table, a dealer at an empty Mississippi Stud table waved me over. The table was empty and I started to protest that I didn’t know how to play Mississippi Stud when I noticed that the dealer was Brian, the substitute dealer who had dealt a few hands at my Pow Gai table. Brian is a Eurasian from Vietnam and had been excited to learn that I had visited his home country.
Brian told me not to worry about the game, he wanted to tell me his story. He was the son of an American serviceman, although he didn’t know his father. He had an older sister who was the son of an Australian soldier. I imagined the hard life of his mother just trying to get along in wartime Vietnam. Brian said he and his sister had been harassed and discriminated against in Vietnam because of his mixed heritage. One day he heard of an American program to fast-track the immigration of sons and daughters of American servicemen to the US. He, his sister, and his mother took advantage of it. He has been in the US for 17 years. His sister is now married and has two children; his mother is still alive and thriving; he’s happy to have good employment and live free of discrimination. It was almost like he needed to tell someone his story, and I felt honored that it was me, so now I want to share it here.
I’m proud to be the citizen of a country that has always opened its doors to immigrants. Let’s not stop! I'll take Brian's Story home with me and try harder to listen to the stories of others with sympathy and empathy. It's better than taking home lots of winnings at the tables.